The number of girls entering the computing and high tech arena is continuing to drop, with women comprising only about 28% of the technology workforce today. Furthermore, the number of girls dropping out from computing/technology, in college, is significant.
This is a serious issue, and recognized as such by many. It is also universally accepted that this shortage of women in technology is not due to a lack of talent, but due to a plethora of discouraging factors that exist in our society today.
While there are many grassroots efforts to address this problem, both as ongoing activities as well as one-time seminars and conferences, information about this strong support is not widely available. Additionally, this support is limited to certain areas in the country and/or certain segments of the population.
What is needed is a mentorship program throughout the country, available to everyone. MAGIC (More Active Girls In Computing) aims to be such a program. We believe that we need to start with middle school girls, and foster in them a positive attitude towards computing, since the high school level might be too late.
MAGIC is run by women with careers in technology, for middle and high school girls. Mentorship is on both technical and personal subjects, including work/life balance, role of girls in our society and how that is changing, how to avoid the technology stereotype, etc.
It is to be noted that there are many mentoring organizations in place today, including MentorNet, the International Telementor Program (ITP), and KidZone, to mention just a few. However, none of these focus specifically on providing mentorship to middle and high school girls on a nation-wide basis, as MAGIC will be doing. We strongly believe that a mentorship program dedicated to these girls is necessary to address the problem of decreasing participation of women in the technology workforce today.
Ira Pramanick is a software engineer in the Personal Search team at Google. Prior to Google, Ira worked for nine years at Sun Microsystems, where she was an architect for Solaris Cluster and chaired the Cluster Architecture Committee. While at Sun, she served as a mentor in the Sun SEED mentoring program for several years. In March 2007, Ira was invited to be the keynote speaker at the National Science Foundation sponsored Technology Powered by Women conference held for middle and high school girls in Kansas City. Ira has also worked at Silicon Graphics, IBM and the University of Alabama in Hunstville. She has a Ph.D. in Electical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa, and a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. Ira is a holder of six US patents. She has a teenage daughter, and is the founder of the MAGIC program, as well as the president of the board of directors of GetMagic Corporation.
Jazmine Jung has been with Kaiser Permanente, San Jose for more than 20 years. Her undergraduate and graduate education were obtained at the University of California, Berkeley. The field of genetics changes at remarkable speed with advances in technology and new learnings occurring constantly. Jazmine is now in management but continues to see patients as well - the ability to apply genetics knowledge in patient care is the reason she chose this particular field. She has two sons and a daughter and would like to inspire them to always love to learn.
Seema Shukla is the current secretary of the board of MAGIC. She has been a consultant for Southern Living at Home for the last nine years. She served on the PTA Board for both elementary and middle schools. Also, she served as treasurer for the Chester Montessori School. Seema has been an active member of the American Cancer Society in organizing fundraisers and various other activities. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Botany and a Master's in political science from the University of Delhi. She has two sons who are in their early twenties.
Ritu Khare is a Research Fellow at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NIH. She has served as a mentor for MAGIC since 2009. Ritu has a Ph.D. in Information Science from the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University, and a B.Tech. in Information Technology from the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, India. She grew up in various towns and cities of Madhya Pradesh, India. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting and dancing.
Ritu Kamboj currently works as a Principal Software Engineer at Oracle Corporation. She has over fifteen years of software development experience, with expertise in database performance and high availability. She has a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a Master's degree in Computer Science from India. Her interests include mentoring young kids in yoga and reading scriptures in all religions. She has two daughters, aged nine and seven.
Sonu is the chief financial officer at Getmagic Corporation. She is a finance professional with a background in software and engineering. Most recently, she worked as a Senior Finance Manager at VMware, leading the long term financial planning effort at the company. Before VMware, she worked in M & A finance at Oracle Corp., and in the Economic and Valuation Services practice at KPMG. Prior to a career in finance, she spent over six years as a software engineer on Wall Street. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst, with a BS from IIT Delhi, and an MBA from UC Berkeley. She has a seven year old son and a seven month old daughter. In her spare time she loves to play with her kids and paint.
Michelle Garcia is leading MAGIC's marketing and outreach strategies. Michelle is currently a marketing leader for a major financial services firm in San Francisco. Prior to her financial services experience, Michelle held several marketing roles at Intel Corporation and global advertising agencies, including Ogilvy and Mather and McCann-Erickson. Michelle has a passion for advocacy, having supported several non-profits in a pro bono capacity, including Girls For A Change, New York Cares, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, Breast Cancer Action and the Taproot Foundation.
Ben Lunzer is an applications architect at GXS, Inc., in Gaithersburg, MD, following a long career at JP Morgan Chase in technology and operations management. He was previously with Accenture, where he led the global middleware group. Prior work was in bioengineering, with a focus on ultrasound, distributed processing, and mathematical modeling. Mr. Lunzer is a founding member of the Securities Industry Middleware Council, has served on the Advisory Council of the IAFE and as co-chair of its Technical Committee, and has represented J P Morgan at The Open Group. Ben and his wife, Hindi, a psychiatric oncologist, have three daughters, ages 20, 18, and 11. The girls share an interest in computing and mathematics, and, with their parents, the removal of any remnants of a glass, or silicon, ceiling.
Truda Kruger was born in Upington, The Republic of South Africa. She has lived in Iowa City, Iowa, since 1986. She has two sons and one daughter. Her interests include child development and elder care.
Tim Frazee is currently a Principal Owner and the President of LA Refrigerant Recovery, Inc., a sustainable business enterprise operating from Southern California. Prior to his current endeavor, Tim was Associate Director of Facilities Services at California State University, Los Angeles, and earlier a Special Projects Manager with the City of San Jose in Northern California. Tim enjoys developing the skill-sets of his staff, both with the intent of making them more valuable to their current employer, as well as to their individual marketability. Tim is also active in local community issues in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he resides with his wife and daughter.
Margot Hackett Miller is a software engineer at Oracle Corporation, working on the Solaris operating system. Prior to that, she worked for twenty years at Sun Microsystems and five years at NCR. In the past, she has served as a MAGIC mentor for two years, and as the board secretary for three years.